Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Summer 2015

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

Amanda H. Thein

Abstract

The ways in which teachers and students speak to each other in middle and secondary English language arts classrooms is integral to the type of learning that occurs there. Ways of engaging in “classroom talk” can be characterized as teacher-centered or student-centered. Teacher-centered classroom talk typically unfolds as a sequence of three steps – a teacher asks a question with a predetermined answer, a student responds, and the teacher evaluates the response. In contrast, student-centered classroom talk is engaging, collaborative, and reciprocal – in these scenarios, teachers and students both ask questions that have multiple answers, students talk to other students, and the discussions grow organically. Working with students in the student-centered way is called dialogic teaching, and while we know dialogic teaching is beneficial to student learning, we also know engaging in this type of teaching is fraught with difficulties. This study sought to explore these difficulties by examining the lived experience of dialogic teaching through the perspectives of six middle and secondary English language arts teachers. The study offers portraits of each teacher’s respective experiences as well as themes that cut across all the teachers’ experiences. Insights are offered about dialogic teaching in terms of lesson planning and attitudes toward students; these insights are termed dialogic by design and dialogic by disposition, respectively.

Public Abstract

The ways in which teachers and students speak to each other in middle and secondary English language arts classrooms is integral to the type of learning that occurs there. Ways of engaging in “classroom talk” can be characterized as teacher-centered or student-centered. Teacher-centered classroom talk typically unfolds as a sequence of three steps – a teacher asks a question with a predetermined answer, a student responds, and the teacher evaluates the response. In contrast, student-centered classroom talk is engaging, collaborative, and reciprocal – in these scenarios, teachers and students both ask questions that have multiple answers, students talk to other students, and the discussions grow organically. Working with students in the student-centered way is called dialogic teaching, and while we know dialogic teaching is beneficial to student learning, we also know engaging in this type of teaching is fraught with difficulties. This study sought to explore these difficulties by examining the lived experience of dialogic teaching through the perspectives of five middle and secondary English language arts teachers. The study offers portraits of each teacher’s respective experiences as well as themes that cut across all the teachers’ experiences. Insights are offered about dialogic teaching in terms of lesson planning and attitudes toward students; these insights are termed dialogic by design and dialogic by disposition, respectively.

The ways in which teachers and students speak to each other in middle and secondary English language arts classrooms is integral to the type of learning that occurs there. Ways of engaging in “classroom talk” can be characterized as teacher-centered or student-centered. Teacher-centered classroom talk typically unfolds as a sequence of three steps – a teacher asks a question with a predetermined answer, a student responds, and the teacher evaluates the response. In contrast, student-centered classroom talk is engaging, collaborative, and reciprocal – in these scenarios, teachers and students both ask questions that have multiple answers, students talk to other students, and the discussions grow organically. Working with students in the student-centered way is called dialogic teaching, and while we know dialogic teaching is beneficial to student learning, we also know engaging in this type of teaching is fraught with difficulties. This study sought to explore these difficulties by examining the lived experience of dialogic teaching through the perspectives of five middle and secondary English language arts teachers. The study offers portraits of each teacher’s respective experiences as well as themes that cut across all the teachers’ experiences. Insights are offered about dialogic teaching in terms of lesson planning and attitudes toward students; these insights are termed dialogic by design and dialogic by disposition, respectively.

Keywords

publicabstract, Dialogic Teaching, English language arts, lived experience, middle school, Phenomenology, secondary school

Pages

xi, 159 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 154-159).

Copyright

Copyright 2015 Mark Andrew Sulzer

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